Keith Hackett column: VAR operator caused Real Madrid vs Sevilla penalty chaos

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I see that there’s been a bit of a rumpus over the awarding of a penalty for Sevilla in their game against Real Madrid on Sunday night.

The big decision was to determine if the handball from the Real Madrid player was deliberate.

Operational advice here also is that if VAR believes a serious and obvious error has been made, then play should have been stopped in a neutral position, and ideally before the ball goes into the opposition penalty area.

One has to question the performance of the VAR operator who, by his lack of action, put the referee in a tremendously difficult position.

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In my opinion, the referee demonstrated great calmness and courage after being faced with this dilemma.

Keith Hackett
Former Premier League and FIFA referee Keith Hackett is a columnist for

Firstly, I must question why the handball offence was missed, as the referee should be in a position to see the offence being committed in any event.

Obviously it was detected by the VAR and whilst he was reviewing it, play went up to the other end and a penalty kick was awarded to Real.

VAR then ask him to look at the handball and if it is a clear handball on the monitor, then the game has to be brought back.

Under the laws of the game, in this particular incident, it’s a clear handball. No question. I really don’t understand why it took so long for the VAR to flag it up or the furore that has erupted since.

The Real Madrid player can see the ball and made no attempt to move his hand/arm out of the way.

In making his body unnaturally bigger it’s an obvious offence, and that’s why VAR would’ve stepped in.


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